magicJack So Did Not Invent VoIP

I was going to link to a press release on magicJack's revenue before I saw the contents. magicJack is doing well, the title boasts. Congratulations to them and all that jazz.

Then I read the first sentence.

WEST PALM BEACH, FL, and NETANYA, Israel, Apr 9, 2012 (GlobeNewswire via COMTEX) -- magicJack VocalTec, Ltd. ("the Company"), a cloud communications leader that invented voice over IP (VoIP) and sold over eight million magicJacks(R), today announced estimates for the first quarter... (emphasis mine). MarketWatch

Huh?

Since when did magicJack invent VoIP? That is outrageous, plain and simple. magicJack has been a boon for a few, pain for many, and definitely no revolution— it's a glorified softphone in a USB stick.

So, I look them up. Okay, owned by VocalTec, an Israeli company founded by Alon Cohen and Lior Haramaty. These two guys invented the first VoIP audio transceiver, recorded in this patent from 1994.

It's silly to say Cohen and Haramaty single-handedly thought up VoIP, however. It's like what people think Al Gore said about the Internet and blah, blah, blah I don't need to repeat it. Cohen and Haramaty came up with "the idea of commercializing packet voice" before it occurred to anyone else (GigaOm). In other words, voice packet technology was already being developed. The first "VoIP" calls were made in the 1970s over the ARPANET network.

I don't even know if Cohen and Haramaty are still around VocalTec today. My guess is no; magicJack bought out VocalTec in 2010. Or they "merged," whatever. Nowadays, magicJack slaps "magicJack" in front of VocalTec whenever it can, even when speaking historically! Check this FAQ out on VocalTec's site.

magicJack Vocaltec, as it is the mot juste, therefore takes credit through its origins. It has nothing to do with Dan Borislow. Claiming that magicJack invented VoIP is morally objectionable, and legally...correct. Really, though, it wasn't magicJack.

Appears in: magicJack
Jackson Weber's picture
Jackson Weber, editor of VoipReview.org is a graduate from the University of Michigan, with a special focus in rhetoric and technical writing. Using these skill sets in conjunction with heavy research, Jackson stays ahead of the latest VoIP technology. He always finds the latest information on everything from SIP trunks to cloud-based PBX services, and breaks it down in plain English that almost anyone can understand.